By Brenna Mackay

A long-term vision for the Faculty of Engineering and Design (FED) at Carleton University is quickly on its way to becoming a reality, with the construction of an all-new Engineering Design Centre having recently begun on campus.

The 25,000-square-foot facility will connect to Carleton’s existing Mackenzie Building on Library Road and will provide dedicated space for undergraduate students as they collaborate on fourth-year Capstone design projects.

Designed in a joint venture by Diamond Schmitt Architects and KWC Architects, the three-storey structure will feature a maker space, design studios, workshop bays, central atrium and meeting and lounge spaces.

Larry Kostiuk, Dean of Faculty of Engineering and Design

Larry Kostiuk, Dean of Faculty of Engineering and Design

“The best learning environments inherently combine both theory and practice,” says FED Dean Larry Kostiuk.

“By investing in this newly-established space for hands-on education, we look to expand Carleton’s longstanding commitment to experiential learning.”

FED is keen to collaborate with the community on this project. Alumni and partners can help enhance the long-term vision for the building, developing new collaborative opportunities and adding leading technology so that students and community can work together on shared challenges.

All-New Engineering Design Centre

Breaking New Ground on Experiential Learning

Following in-depth consultation with students and faculty, Kostiuk is now among many looking forward to additional on-campus space for students to construct their designs and work on research projects.

“The genesis of the idea for a dedicated student facility came from gathering feedback on the challenges that our undergraduates were facing in accessing collaborative workspaces,” he says.

“Once the idea was launched, we also began collecting responses from other stakeholders, and this helped create a larger, more tangible vision.”

While engineering and design students at Carleton engage in hands-on projects throughout their programs, fourth-year students are required to work in teams to produce a design innovation that incorporates everything they have learned over the course of their studies.

Often considered the hallmark of an undergraduate engineering degree, fourth-year Capstone design projects provide a platform to integrate their knowledge with practical skills to develop a professional-level project. They also help foster an entrepreneurial spirit and passion for real-world problem solving.

“For students, fourth-year projects are much like working on a startup—serving as an opportunity to explore new ideas that require sustained commitment, critical thinking and improvisational skill,” says Kostiuk. “Having a dedicated physical space where students can work together towards a shared goal helps them gain valuable transferable skills for the future.”

All-New Engineering Design Centre

Establishing Collaborative Environments

Collaboration is often cited as a fundamental soft skill for engineering students in terms of ensuring a successful transition to the workplace.

With that in mind, the building’s interior has been intentionally designed to be open and inviting, with easily reconfigurable furniture and both formal and informal meeting space that encourages students to connect with one another, discuss projects and exchange ideas. Design rooms, which will serve classroom-like functions, will be outfitted with presentation technology, allowing for everything from small group discussions to formal meetings and presentations.

Top 10 Carleton Stories in 2019

“As a purpose-built environment, the Engineering Design Centre will be the new hub of activity for our students and faculty,” says Kostiuk.

“It will not only support collaboration and provide students with space for experiential learning, but also help foster a sense of community within the faculty and on campus.”

While the Engineering Design Centre will establish a new core for interaction within FED, the building’s maker space will serve as the heart of the facility—supporting students, technicians and faculty with access to vital equipment. Located on the ground floor, the maker space will feature laser and waterjet cutters, 3D printers, injection molders and vacuum, as well as standard drill presses, saws and routers upon opening.

All-New Engineering Design Centre

Accessible and Sustainable Design

The Engineering Design Centre will also serve as an example of Carleton’s continued leadership in accessibility and sustainability. The entire building has been designed to be inclusive and accessible throughout, including barrier-free clearances for all workshop bays that meet or exceed the Ontario Building Code.

The facility will also incorporate energy-efficient building systems and strategies for electricity conservation and sustainability. The building itself will be instrumented and have the controls needed for graduate-level research to explore and test conservation and sustainability ideas.

The Engineering Design Centre is expected to open its doors in fall 2021.

More Stories

Monday, November 2, 2020 in ,
Share: Twitter, Facebook